Follow The Yellow Brick Road To Your Networking Success
How many times have you gone to an networking event where they give you a reusable bag to collect all of your paper, business cards, etc? Do you fill the bag up only to have majority of the stuff get lost? Most importantly do you meet someone that could potentially help you now or in the future?
How do you develop this person into one of your top 50 networking contacts? There are four phases of constructing this path toward networking success.
- Phase I- Bricks
- Phase II- Cement
- Phase III- Yellow Paint
- Phase IV- Glossy Finish
You must understand that this process is one that takes time and patience. You can’t simply walk up to someone, shake their hand and say, “Hey, you should be in my top 50 contacts!” Trust and knowledge of the other person and their business must be put into place before that can happen.
Phase I- Bricks
- Destiny- Everyone knows people. It may be through referral or reputation or maybe you knew this person in that past and you want to reconnect. It may even be serendipity, lucky you!
- Acquaintance- You have officially met this person by way of one of the above described methods. It is very important to suspend from pursuing transactions with this person.
- Rapport- It is at this point that you start to like the person you are speaking with and maybe even found common ground between the two of you. Make sure you have your ears open and really listen to what they are saying, you never know what might be relevant.
- Knowledge- Finally, you learn something about their work and what they do. At this point you can develop a connection whether through facebook, linkedin, or e-mail. Continue to ask questions and develop further conversation in order to discover where you overlap.
Phase II- Cement
- Assistance- Help is a two way road. You may offer each other advice or a perspective or you may have a mutual connection or resource. Whatever you have offer it to them and hope that they will have something for you in return (reference, referral, etc.).
- Trust I- Similarly, trust flows in both directions. You have shared something with your contact, now the trick is keeping in touch at least once every 5 weeks.
- Support- Help continues between the two parties. The problems, advice or suggestions may even become more complex.
- Appreciation- This is something that happens on an individual basis. You begin to feel the positive effects of your networking and think about them more often.
Phase III- Yellow Paint
- Mentoring- You begin to see how the level of help grows and develops. We recommend receiving some sort of feedback from your contact at this point to ensure that the relationship prospers even further.
- Trust II- You have solidified trust between the two parties. You now hold this person in the highest regard.
- Partnership- Congradulations! They are officially in your top 50 contacts. You have become important to each other in a professional manner.
Phase IV- Glossy Finish
- Friendship- If you are lucky enough to make it into phase four, then you have developed friendship that may last you for a lifetime.
Take A Walk…
The yellow brick road of follow-up is officially complete! The number of phases and steps involved show how important a process it is. We encourage you to build your own road (bricks, cement, paint, and even a glossy finish) and become a networking wizard!